Isms are Everywhere: Sexism, Racism, Audism

Would They Ask This About an All-Male Anchor Team?: ABC’s Good Morning America announced yesterday that Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts will co-anchor the morning news, making them either the first or one of the very first all-female anchor teams. This announcement was followed by a news story questioning whether television viewers would be willing to watch two women give them the morning news. It makes us wonder, if ABC picked two men to be co-anchors, would people be asking the same question and debating if two men could succeed as a team? Probably not.

black and white.jpgAnd What Does This Imply About Racism?: Measuring women’s accomplishments in terms of men’s accomplishments is nothing new. Neither is comparing racial/ethnic minorities to racial/ethnic majorities, which is what some psychological research journals insist on doing. A study on extraordinarily successful African American youths was submitted to a journal for publication, only to be rejected. Why? Because one of the reviewers said the study needed a white control group. Yes, you read that right – a white control group! First of all, the study was specifically about African American youths. Second, you don’t see reviewers demanding African American or Chinese American control groups for studies that involve mostly white participants. If it isn’t racist to turn down a study that attempts to gain understanding of a particular racial or ethnic group, then what is this attitude all about?

Or Audism?: Not that we want every other posting to be about audism, but it’s hard to ignore that a lot of the above applies to Deaf people, too. How often have you heard “Can a Deaf person do the job?” or “What about hearing schools, how do their students do on this kind of test or how do they behave in similar situations?”. Yes, there are times when it is perfectly fine to check what the majority is doing, but there are definitely other times when it may not be so necessary. We have caught ourselves saying, “Well, let’s check with so-and-so to see what they think about this issue”, then realizing that we were placing too much importance on hearing people’s opinions, instead of checking with our Deaf peers. Isms are everywhere and we really have to work hard to be conscientious of them.

  1. DeafWatcher July 12, 2006

    We have to stop comparing ourselves to hearing people. We are different from them. There are many things that we can do better than hearing people, but should they compare themselves to us? No!

    We need to start using Deaf businesses, buying books from Deaf authors (Gallaudet University publishes too many books by hearing people), etc. We want to hear from DEAF PEOPLE (not HEARING PEOPLE) about DEAF PEOPLE. We don’t want hearing people help us. Hearing people can help their own people.

    Support our own PEOPLE. Hearing friends are wonderful, but they need to know their place. They have to find jobs that don’t take jobs from Deaf people.

    Thank you, ASC, for bringing up some issues that we all need to think about. Thank you for letting us share our thoughts.

  2. Melinda Nelson November 20, 2016

    I am pursuing my Counseling Masters degree and am deaf myself. I would like to get involved as much as I can especially with Audism. I would appreciate any information and feedback you can give me.


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